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FMS ‘winningest school’ in C-SPAN competition

Several Farragut Middle School students in Karen Rehder’s language arts class were honored Friday, May 9, during a presentation by representatives of C-SPAN for placing in the 2008 C-SPAN StudentCam competition.

C-SPAN representative Rodee Schnider said, “This is the winningest school as far as second and third prize winners go, so you should all be very proud of that. Technically there are eight second-prize winners for the Student Cam competition. There are four middle school winners and four high school winners. This school captured one half of them.”

FMS had a total of six winning teams; an honorable mention, three third-prize winners and two second-prize winners.

Schnider said StudentCam was launched as a way to get students involved in the political process.

“This is the fourth year of StudentCam and it is the largest year we have had yet. We had 616 students submitting entries from over 36 states and we had entrants from South Korea, Mexico, Kosovo and Puerto Rico. We had sixth- thru 12th-grade students making a documentary on an issue of national significance,” he added.

State Sen. Tim Burchett, who has been involved with Rehder’s StudentCam projects for the last two years was, on hand to see the students receive their awards.

Burchett said when Rehder asked him two years ago to come speak to her class as part of their project he really didn’t know what to expect. Now he does.

“I really have to bone up on my information when I come and speak to these young people because they are very well informed,” he said.

“It seems that all we do is focus on the bad things with our kids and our schools and this is definitely one of the finer things I am involved with. It makes me feel a lot better about where our country is going,” he added.

Burchett feels projects such as StudentCam are an integral part of a well-rounded education.

“I think they need to learn about world events. We talk about the world economy and with computers and things these kids are a part of the world economy a lot sooner than they normally would be,” he said. “And world events; they look for solutions to a lot of problems.

“A lot of times people in politics, we look too much at the bureaucracy. The kids just say ‘why cant we fix it?’ and ‘here is how we ought to do it.’

“Sometimes I think we need to look more through their eyes than our own,” he added.

Schnider and the C-SPAN education committee were impressed with the students’ ability to relate national issues to their own community.

“Something that you all did really well was tie local issues into the national issue. You interviewed community leaders and had plenty of interviews with your Senators and other folks who are representing you in Washington, D.C.,” Schnider said.

“Something [else] you all did very well was present both sides of the issue. You gathered multiple perspectives, sometimes coming away with your own conclusion, other times offering the viewer both sides so they could come away with what they think about the issue. That is something that we, at C-SPAN, value a lot,” he added.

The winning students were: Summer Awad, Courtney Such, Alexa Cusick, Jordan Newby, Douglas Rogerson, Ashley Davis, Caitlin Wood, Bradley Carr, Tyler Stridde, Robert Wrinkle, Hannah Chapman, Makena Lowrey, Kaity Patterson and Katie Wenger.

The students also were given the opportunity to tour the C-SPAN 2008 Campaign Tour Bus.

Doug Hemmig, C-SPAN representative, said, “We use it as a production studio. We have three cameras and glass doors that shut eliminating about 70 percent of the sound. Rodee would be our director in the back; he would control moving the camera around. It is everything we need to do television [interviews]. The last time it was used as a production bus was last month for the Pennsylvania primary.”

Hemmig added they like to have students tour the bus in order to give them a more critical view of the media.

“It makes them a critical viewer and not a dismissive viewer. When the walk of the bus they have a more discerning eye when they watch the national news and that is what is all about.”


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